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Hoosier Heritage Barn Week highlights need to protect and preserve barns

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has proclaimed September 20-26 as Hoosier Heritage Barn Week.

Indiana Barn Foundation President Kent Yeager says the proclamation helps bring attention to the importance of preserving and maintaining these landmarks.

“It’s really to help people focus on and think about what these barns mean especially from a standpoint of heritage—for an individual family, farm, a community, and even for the state,” he says.

To help cap off the week, The Indiana Barn Foundation is hosting a self-guided tour of eight stops that includes more than 10 heritage barns in northern Allen and southern Dekalb counties.

“There are some very unique and majestic examples of barns that will be on that tour,” he says.

The event is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 25. Click here to register or for more information.

Yeager tells Brownfield the organization likes to bring awareness to the unique aspects of many barns.

“They’re not all alike,” he says. “…in the past, the trees and wood used for barns usually came from the farm and the stone used for the foundation came from the farm or one nearby. The barns rose up from the land that people came to when they started to settle the entire state of Indiana. Understanding the uniqueness and some of those differences is really an important part of the value that these barns can have for people.”

The Indiana Barn Foundation recently published a 28-page booklet with information about these different types of barns. The booklets can be found at regional Farm Credit Mid-America offices.

The foundation was formed in 2013 with the help of the late Mauri Williamson, a longtime Purdue administrator and expert on barns. In 2015, it established a 501c3 to provide grants to rehab historic Indiana barns.

“We probably wouldn’t exist as an organization today had it not been for Mauri,” Yeager says.

As part of a long-term strategic plan the Indiana Barn Foundation is establishing the Mauri Williamson Legacy Endowment so that it can continue to help preserve these landmarks.  

Audio: Kent Yeager

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